Week of the Second Sunday after Epiphany

Dear Friends in Christ:

January 18, the Confession of Peter, begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2022. What started as a small prayer movement among Episcopal Franciscans and Catholics in the Hudson River Valley north of New York City in 1908 has over the decades become an international observance embraced by millions and sponsored by the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an octave encouraging daily prayer observances, begins on the commemoration of the Confession of Peter and concludes a week later on the day of the commemoration of the Conversion of Paul, an octave bracketed by the celebration of two major figures of the Christian tradition who represent different strands of our faith tradition. Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples who was among the first-hand, eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, and who became one of the twelve original apostles, and a central figure among the twelve. Paul, on the other hand, as Saul, a persecutor of the early Christian movement and its believers, had his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, and thus came to this new movement in a way very different from the twelve original apostles. Paul struggled to have his apostolic authority accepted during the days of his public ministry.

These differences could have taken Christianity in very different and divided directions. But the basic rapprochement between Pauline and Petrine factions in the early days preserved early unity in the emergent church even amidst its sometimes-conflicting diversity. There is an icon in the offices of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Vatican that features Peter and Paul embracing each other. That is an image which captures the unifying spirit of the ecumenical octave of this week. It is indeed appropriate that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity should begin and conclude with commemorations of Peter and Paul, a celebration of and aspiration for unity in diversity.

Each year materials for marking and celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are developed by different ecumenical councils in various regions of the world. Materials for 2022, published nationally by the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in New York, were crafted by the Middle East Council of Churches in Beirut, Lebanon. This year’s theme is based on Matthew 2:2 – “We saw the star in the east, and we came to worship him.” Here is further elaboration on this theme from the website of the Graymoor Institute: “Today, more than ever, the Middle East needs a heavenly light to accompany its people. The star of Bethlehem is a sign that God walks with his people, feels their pain, hears their cries, and shows them compassion. It reassures us that though circumstances change and terrible disasters may happen, God’s faithfulness is unfailing…. The journey of faith is this walking with God who always watches over his people and who guides us in the complex paths of history and life. For this Week of Prayer, the Christians of the Middle East chose the theme of the star that rose in the east for a number of reasons. While many Western Christians celebrate Christmas, the more ancient feast, and still the principal feast of many Eastern Christians, is the Epiphany when God’s salvation is revealed to the nations in Bethlehem and at the Jordan. This focus on the theophany (the manifestation) is, in a sense a treasure which Christians of the Middle East can offer to their brothers and sisters around the world.”

Here is a link, should you wish to participate in a live, online observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It begins at 12:00 pm (Noon) Eastern on Wednesday, January 19.

And here is a link to official Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022 materials to support your daily prayers for greater visible unity in the church.

As I have written to you before, I am a devoted ecumenist and am committed to promoting the greater visible unity among Christian churches, and this for the sake of our witness to the world rooted in Jesus’ prayer recorded in John’s Gospel: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21) I, therefore, see ecumenical work as central to the mission of the church and not as an optional, extra thing to engage in if we have time and inclination.

Ecumenical involvements, ranging from local to national and even international initiatives, have consistently been key features of my public ministry for over three decades. Thus, it’s been a disappointment to me that Arlington has no apparent current, active, formal ecumenical association of churches and church leaders. I would otherwise be an active participant in such a group. Thus, I will continue to endeavor informally to reach out to colleagues in neighboring congregations in future months, pandemic permitting, seeking to build some meaningful ecumenical relationships locally. Nationally, I continue to serve as the Lutheran co-chair of the Lutheran-Methodist Full Communion Coordinating Committee.

Additionally, I am heartened by Resurrection Church’s own history of and current expressions of ecumenical commitments. My predecessor, Pastor Scott Ickert, is a committed ecumenist, well-known for his involvements synodically and nationally. And we have a number of members whose current professional and personal passions include involvement in various forms of ecumenical work.

Meanwhile, Resurrection families, like many Christian families today, embody their own versions of ecumenical commitments and realities. We have several mixed church families, especially Lutheran-Catholic, and it gladdens my heart that these families find ways of honoring the other spouse’s own churchly commitments by participating in activities of their spouse’s churches. And it’s especially delightful to me that some of our most active participants at Resurrection are officially members of other churches!

This is perhaps an expression of what is known in ecumenical circles as “spiritual ecumenism,” that is, when commitments to the greater visible unity of the church are lived out in personal and practical ways at local levels.

Thanks be to God for such witness to the unity we in fact enjoy in Christ Jesus, an embodied fulfillment in part of our prayers for Christian unity this week and throughout the year.

Praying along with our Lord that we may all be one – for the sake of the world,

Pastor Jonathan Linman

Please join us for a live stream of our 10:00am Worship Serivce on Sunday, January 16, 2022, the Second Sunday After Epiphany. If you missed the service, then please click below for a replay.

Please be aware that there may be moments of silence during the hymns, choral pieces, and organ voluntaries for which we have not been able to secure streaming rights from the music publishers. We apologize for this disruption and thank you for your understanding.

Epiphany 2, John 2:1-11

I’m sure that you’ve attended your fair share of weddings and wedding receptions. And I have no doubt that some of those wedding festivities are more memorable than others for a host of reasons.

As a pastor, I could tell you some tales of unusual experiences at wedding banquets. The pulpit is obviously not the place to do that!

But today we have the story of the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee, its own compelling and usual tale. According to the gospel writer John, this is the first event Jesus attended just days after he began his public ministry. Jesus was there with his new disciples along with his mom.

In John’s telling we have this fascinating exchange between Jesus and his mother at the banquet. I can picture Jesus and Mary off to the side observing the proceedings and making comments to each other in the familiarity of a mother-son relationship:

Mary: “They have no wine.”

Jesus: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

Then Mary to the servants [sensing perhaps what might happen next having pondered in her heart the mysteries about her son for his entire life]: “Do whatever he tells you.”

This could easily be played as a humorous moment in the gospels, a comedy duet, but the exchange also sets the stage for the first of Jesus’ public signs which revealed his glory, namely, when he changed water into wine after the bridegroom’s wine gave out.

We’ve all known those disappointing parties where there’s not enough food and drink. Or the eats and drinks are of poor quality and not very satisfying. Or there’s enough of the good stuff to make a good first impression and then an abundance of cheap food and drink to get people drunk so they don’t notice or care much about the poor quality. And on and on.

Bear with me. This is not a sermon about social etiquette and good party planning, but about Jesus Christ and how he addresses the human condition with good news.

Here’s the thing. The way of the world is the way of the banquet which runs out of wine. That’s the human condition. In our finitude and mortality, it’s the way of scarcity and limited resources. And in our sin, we seek to hide the realities of our limitations.

Sometimes we engage in anxious deception of the kind that the late 19th Century economist and sociologist, Thorstein Veblen (an alum my alma mater Carleton College) termed conspicuous consumption, that is, acquisitively flaunting luxury goods and services as a way of showing status in overstated and impractical ways – theologically speaking, a sin of pride.

Surely our overstated, relentless pursuit of consumer commodities masks our fears of our limitations, our ultimate poverty when it’s all said and done. The fear weighs on us and is a source of what ails so much in society, as we consume ourselves to oblivion, perhaps extinction as a species. Eventually we’ll run out of wine…. Our pandemic supply chain struggles reveal the reality of our limits in un-nerving ways.

But this is precisely the reality Jesus addresses when he changed water into wine, something common into something extraordinary. Despite his hour having not come, as John reports Jesus having said, Jesus enters the scene of the wedding banquet by providing abundance, the best of created goodness, more wine to replenish the supplies.

The miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is described by John as a sign. The Greek word shares the root for the word and thing and practice, semaphore, a system of sending messages by code. A sign is a distinguishing mark, or token, or portent that points beyond itself to different reality, in this case, transcendent realities.

The sign that Jesus offered was quite something. I don’t know how much wine the bridegroom started with, but what Jesus did was produce anywhere between 120 and 180 gallons of wine (six stone water jars each holding twenty or thirty gallons). That’s as much as perhaps 900 standard bottles of wine! That’s a lot of wine for quite the party. That’s abundance, not scarcity. It’s an amount that is not likely to give out.

And the wine that resulted from Jesus’ intervention was of an excellent quality and vintage, the best of God’s good creation. The steward said to the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This was the sign that revealed Jesus’ glory. Again, we’re not talking about Jesus and his mom going into business as wedding planners and consultants. Not at all. This wasn’t about the wine in and of itself. Nor was the sign about the miracle. Rather the sign pointed to Jesus himself and to a different time in his life, namely, when his hour would come, the hour when he would be glorified at the end of his life.

Here we have at the very beginning of his public ministry according to John a foreshadowing of the end of that earthly ministry. For Jesus’ glory in John ultimately is his being lifted up on the tree of the cross at that right hour, namely, the final hours of Jesus’ earthly life.

The sign offered at the wedding in Cana of Galilee occurred on the third day since the inauguration of Jesus’ public ministry after he had called his first disciples. When we hear that phrase, with the 20/20 vision of post-resurrection hindsight, we cannot help but also hear “on the third day he shall rise again.” That’s when the real party begins, the feast which knows no end, the best wine saved for last that doesn’t give out.

It's noteworthy that John’s gospel does not explicitly recount the story of Jesus’ baptism. But here we have featured in this story six stone water jars intended to be used for the Jewish rites of purification. Is this not for us believers an allusion to the waters of baptism which purify us?

Further, John’s gospel also does not include an account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper. John emphasizes Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in the Last Supper segment of the story.

But that doesn’t mean that John’s gospel isn’t eucharistically sacramental. In the story of the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee we go from water to wine, metaphorically in some poetic, non-linear sense, from baptism to Eucharist, for the Eucharist with its good wine is likened to a wedding feast. At the wedding feast at Cana Jesus himself is the good wine that does not give out, the very wine we imbibe at this our sacramental table conveying Jesus’ real presence, his real self.

This is good news that signals the reality of the eternal abundance of God’s good creation, the fruit of field and orchard. And it was and is glorious to behold. The revelation of Jesus’ glory inspires faith – “and his disciples believed him.”

Yes, it’s glorious also for us to behold. We see Jesus’ glory in baptism. We see Jesus’ glory in the Eucharist where the best wine, Christ himself, quenches our thirst and that of all believers throughout the world and for all time, endlessly. Amen!!

In this sacramental light, I invite you to hear portions of today’s first reading from Isaiah as a kind of invitation to the communion table: Come to the table, for “You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her… for the LORD delights in you…. So shall your builder marry you, and as one rejoices in marrying one’s beloved, so shall your God rejoice over you” (cf. Isaiah 62:3-5). This kind of blessing is what this table of feasting is about!

And when we leave this foretaste of the heavenly wedding banquet to return to our homes and venues of engagement with the world, in God’s generous abundance, we offer varieties of gifts, varieties of services, varieties of activities all inspired by the one Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Jesus himself.

And to a hungry, thirsty, needy world, a world scared to death of scarcity and limitation, we give gifts of abundant wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles (that is to say, more signs to Christ), prophecy, discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues and the interpretation of the same – all for the common good.

Come to the feast, enjoy the best wine who is Christ. Leave in joy to quench the thirst of a dry and parched worldly landscape. Amen. 

Worship in Person Indoors Continues

As was reported in detail in Pastor’s Midweek Message last week, our Reopening Planning Group has affirmed our commitment to continue to worship in person during the Omicron variant-related surge in Covid cases. Our modified worship routine includes attention to the following: reducing the amount of singing in worship, encouraging the use of N95 masks or double-masking, roping off again every other pew, and suspending coffee hour indoors for the foreseeable future. While we are committed to retaining our in-person worship practice, we also honor and respect those who, for varieties of reasons, need to refrain from in person worship at this time. We pray that this surge is comparatively short-lived.

Annual Congregational Meeting on January 23 at 11:30 am via Zoom

Our annual congregational meeting will take place on Sunday, January 23, 2022 beginning at 11:30 am via Zoom. For those who attend worship in person and feel that they cannot make it back home in time to participate, you are welcome to adjourn to the fellowship hall where you can participate remotely there, appropriately physically distanced. Watch for further word about the logistics of our annual meeting which will be coming to you in separate communications.

New Bible Study on the Prophet Micah, Monday Evenings at 6:30 via Zoom

Because our aspirations as a congregation center so much on the wisdom of the prophet Micah to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God,” (cf. Micah 6:8) we will begin a new Bible Study featuring Micah on Monday evenings at 6:30 pm via Zoom beginning on January 17. For the coming many weeks we’ll work our way through the whole book of Micah that we may come to understand in deeper ways the historical and theological contexts of this important prophetic work that this study may also enhance our understandings as a congregation in mission. If you are interested in participating, please contact Pastor Linman. All are welcome to join in!

Please Share Your 2022 Giving Intentions

Our congregation will hold its annual meeting Sunday, January 23, and at that time we’ll vote on approving the church’s budget for 2022. Thanks to those of you who have already shared how you intend to support Resurrection’s plans for ministry and education – but thus far, only 42 individuals and families have provided that information and their intended offerings would cover a little more than 40 percent of the proposed budget. If you haven’t done so yet please share your giving intentions for 2022 by completing the Statement of Intent that will be available at our Sunday worship services, or you can use this online form. It’s also a good time to consider enrolling in the “Simply Giving” electronic funds transfer program to have your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly offering automatically drawn from your bank account or charged to your credit card – just complete the enrollment form and return it along with your pledge.

Faith Formation for Whole Families at Home

In our life together, we value continued learning and study of scripture. In our pandemic life together, we value supporting virtual and household participation in that learning, supported with resources and opportunities to connect and practice with others.

We’re excited to offer two new opportunities in the New Year, one that will kick off this weekend:

A Gift for You—New Bibles & Small Catechisms

The Education Committee is distributing to households in the congregation new bibles and small catechisms for your use at home. These resources were selected to complement upcoming programming, and are additions to your personal libraries. To learn how to receive your copy, reach out to Amanda Lindamood or Pastor Linman by email. We’re excited to share these! Distribution and deliveries will continue through December and January.

An All-Ages Bible Study

We had an excellent beginning on Tuesday, January 11th from 6-7 pm when 23 persons of all ages joined in. This Bible Study will be led on the second Tuesday of each month via Zoom, designed to be paired with your dinner hour, and to engage all of the members of your household. We will build relationships, pray together in multiple ways, and respond to stories in our sacred texts through this creative new pilot. Pastor Linman and Amanda Lindamood will lead using our newly distributed materials, “Growing in God’s Love A Story Bible”. To RSVP, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Details on each session’s exact logistics and login information will follow.

Collection of Food Items for AFAC on Sunday, January 16

We will receive donations of food items for AFAC on Sunday, January 16, in conjunction with our regular worship service.

Social/Racial Justice Learning Group Postponed for a Month

Out of an abundance of caution, we've postponed the start of the Learning Group that we've agreed to facilitate (from Wednesday 19 January 2022 to Wednesday 16 February 2022 at 7pm at RELC). We continue to believe that meeting in person (with appropriate distancing and masking akin to Sunday worship), at least to self-organize this new endeavor, is worthwhile.

In the meantime, we would encourage everyone (not just those who are considering joining our group) to avail themselves of the first resource we selected for initial discussion -- White Too Long, The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones.

If you haven't already let us know of your interest, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Can't make it to church? Watch us Live! Now Livestreaming Worship

To view our 10:00 AM Sunday worship service on YouTube live, click on the live worship link on the RELC home page on Sunday mornings during the worship hour and be redirected to the YouTube live stream. The Live Stream will "go live" at 9:55AM on each Sunday morning. To view the service at a later time, go to our YouTube Channel. Click on the videos tab to browse archives of past services. Click on the Subscribe button and create an account to be notified when Live Streams are started or when other videos are added. For any questions, please contact the pastor.

Altar Flowers Sign Up for 2022

In keeping with RELC’s custom prior to the pandemic, we have resumed ordering flowers for the chancel. If you would like to participate in flower dedications, please sign up on the calendar, which will be placed in the hallway just outside of the kitchen. Please be sure to inform the church office for whom the flowers should be dedicated to, preceding the Sunday that you have assumed responsibility for the embellishment of the Nave. There will be recognition of your dedication in the church bulletin. Please also note that you will need to submit a $40 check to the church office for the flowers. The check should be paid to the order of Resurrection Lutheran Church, and should include a memo which identifies that the donation is for the church flowers. Sending great thanks to all who partake in serving and glorifying God and RELC, through your gifts of flowers during the worship service.

Faith Formation Calendar

Click below for the current faith formation calendar that includes activities and resources for all ages:

pdfAdvent Calendar RELC 2021

For Your Prayers at Home

In addition to our usual prayers of intercession in our home worship, we encourage your prayers throughout the week for the following:

  • Jane Coonce
  • Janet Lewis
  • Maggie Mount
  • Krista Kurth
  • Evon Lippencot
  • Nancy MacDonald
  • Bob MacDonald
  • Grant Aldonas
  • Norm Olsen
  • Judy Frank
  • Effie Stallsmith
  • Malcolm Stark
  • Barb Jensen
  • Charlotte Boeck
  • Lynn Kiewel
  • Phillip Swingler
  • Maria Liwski
  • Tucker Dean
  • Irene Belcher
  • Sharon Kravetz
  • John and Anneliese Arnold
  • Julie Bates
  • Walters, Grays, and Lombardos families, who lost their homes in the Colorado wildfires
  • Family of Mark Anderson
  • Family and Friends of Ellie Barnes

For those whom you know, consider sending a card, or an email, or make a phone call. These additional expressions of prayerfulness can make a big, healing difference in people’s lives and promote their sense of well-being. For current contact information, if you don’t have it, kindly reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Prayer Requests

Should you desire to make prayer requests for persons you care about, or desire prayer for other concerns, please contact Pastor Linman with those requests: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-972-2076. Pastor will make certain that the names you provide will be included in the Prayers of Intercession for Sundays, and for your prayers throughout the week. Making your requests known to Pastor Linman will allow him to follow up with you directly – as your requests for prayer help set the agenda for our Pastor’s ministry at Resurrection Church.

Arlington County Covid-19 Response

Click here for the latest updates on our county’s pandemic response as well as official and current information concerning vaccinations.

Current Routine for Worship Indoors

We continue our worship indoors this Sunday at 10:00am. To alleviate any concerns and to help prepare you for your return, here is what you can expect:

First, out of loving concern for young children and others not yet able to be vaccinated, we ask that ALL worshipers wear facial masks. Secondly, we will maintain physical distancing, erring on the side of caution. These two basic practices serve as the foundation for safety and guide all other practices.

Upon arrival: kindly find your seats promptly on arrival to avoid congregating in the narthex. Every other pew will be available for seating. Please do not try to sit in pews taped off. Ushers will be available to assist you with seating options.

Offering: your offerings will not be collected. However, offering plates located near the front of the church are available for your use. When you come forward for communion, you may place your offering in one of the plates on stands near the chancel.

Communion: Holy Communion will be offered in both kinds, with bread being dropped into your hands, palms facing up, and wine administered from a pouring chalice into a container you bring from home. Intinction, dipping bread into the cup, is not permitted for reasons of hygiene. Communion will be continuous, with worshipers forming one line in the center aisle to receive both bread and wine at the direction of ushers. One side of the church will commune first, and then we’ll move to communing the other side. Return to your seats via the side aisles closest to you.

Upon Departure: kindly leave the nave promptly at the direction of ushers and avoid once again congregating in the narthex. If you wish to remain on church grounds for conversation, and we hope you do, please adjourn to the fellowship hall downstairs or outdoors beyond the Washington Blvd. entrance.

Misc. Considerations: Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers on stands are available for your use in several locations in the church building. If you forget your face mask, we have extras for you, and likewise small paper cups if you forget a container for communion. Worship indoors will be very similar to that which we have been doing outdoors, a simplified, somewhat shorter version of Resurrection’s normal worship practice.

We very much look forward to seeing you in church!

The best ways to contact Pastor Linman

Here are the best and most direct ways to contact Pastor Linman. The email address given for his professional and pastoral use is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Pastor Linman’s direct dial phone number in the church office is: 703-972-2076. Please leave a message there if Pastor does not answer. He monitors and responds to his messages throughout the day even when he's not in the office. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Other Announcements?

Should you have announcements that you wish to communicate in this weekly message as committee chairs or those responsible for other ministry initiatives at Resurrection, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by late Wednesday mornings for inclusion in the message for the coming Thursday. Thanks!

Regular Worship Service

Service of Holy Communion will once again be held in the Sanctuary at 10:00am. Everyone is asked to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and to maintain social dinstance out of respect for those who cannot receive or who have chosen not to receive a Covid vaccine. Please bring a small juice glass, so that you may receive wine with Communion.

 

The Stained Glass Windows in the Nave at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church

Dr. Melvin S. Lange, pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church from 1958 to 1971, prepared the theological material for the artist, Roy Calligan, of the Hunt Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. The meaning of each of the seventeen windows is indicated by a Bible verse. The theme begins with the window to the left of the lectern (when facing the altar) and proceeds around the nave toward the back, and then forward on the opposite side toward the last window to the right of the pulpit.

Stained Glass Windows Information

 

 

We are a church that strives to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We do justice by serving our community through our social outreach activities and through contributions of finances and member’s time to local programs, including, for example, Lutheran Social Services. We provide opportunities for a rich Christian education to our members and to the community. Many of our members are active in synod activities and in ecumenical activities with other Christians.

We love kindness in the Christian work we do, often quietly but resolutely, for our members and for the community. Benevolence has always been a priority for our church, and we are a significant donor both in our financial resources and, perhaps more importantly to us, our member’s time. We are active with food assistance programs in the Arlington area and to other social service organizations.

We strive to walk humbly with our God in our worship services. We take liturgy, prayer, and music very seriously in our church as a path through which our parishioners can experience the word and sacrament in their lives. Finally, we are excited about offering the sacrament of communion to our parishioners at every Sunday service and believe it is important that we continue to do so.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Metropolitan Washington DC Synod (ELCA)